Coastie says she wants to give the Coast Guard ‘perspective,’ and see it be more ‘inclusive’ after graduating the Coast Guard Academy

Anne Allman shares a laugh with U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris at her graduation from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy earlier this year. (Courtesy photo / Anne Allman)

Kayla Tucker

Grand Haven Tribune, Mich.

Jul. 26—Grand Haven’s own Anne Allman recently graduated from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut, and recently became stationed as an official Coastie.

Allman, 23, went to Spring Lake High School and grew up sailing at the Spring Lake Yacht Club. After graduating high school in 2016, she first went to Michigan State University before starting the Coast Guard Academy.

Recently, Allman sat down with the Grand Haven Tribune to talk about her experiences and goals for the future.

What did the Coast Guard program look like?

Even though I went to two years of college at MSU and then had my epiphany to go to the Coast Guard Academy, I had to start their 200-week program. It’s a four-year program, throughout the summers, too. The summers are all military training. Last summer I was in Bahrain for the summer on a fast response cutter, an FRC we call them. They’re these 154-foot patrol boats and I also was on a 110, which is another patrol boat. We go to a training at Camp Lejune for five weeks to go overseas, which is a marine base, and we learn how to do 50-cal machine guns, M4s, we shoot pistols … we go into a gas chamber and we get gassed. We get fitted for these M50 gas masks and then we spend a couple days learning how to use them. And then, as our practical exam, we get put into a gas chamber. We have to clear our masks, be able to breathe, take off the masks, filters, all that stuff. So we train for overseas. That was one of the cool summers I had, that was last summer.

What made you decide to apply to the Coast Guard Academy?

I went to Michigan State. I was in James Madison College and I studied social relations and policy there. At the time I was just thinking about trying to impact America through policy and work for Congress when I graduated. … I grew up, my dad was in law enforcement and I knew I wanted to help the community. “How?” was a good question. And then, of course, being from Grand Haven, which is the original Coast Guard City USA, I knew about the Coast Guard, my dad had worked alongside the Coast Guard and I was like, “OK, I think I want to be in the Coast Guard.” So I started doing my own research on the options. There’s the academy, which is pretty prestigious and I did not think I would get into it … but then I applied just to see. I applied to BMI as well, because I knew I wanted to be in the Coast Guard and wanted to try to be in the military somehow. … The service itself is more humanitarian compared to the other branches. You help people a lot. You’re there to help more than do other missions.

With the government to military, it’s kind of a different focus for me, and it’s something I’m actually more passionate about because it’s law enforcement. As I was a cadet at the academy, I applied for this advanced research project with U.S. Africa Command and I got it. So I studied Africa and maritime crime in the Gulf of Guinea. I was able to go to Rome, Italy, for the African Chiefs of Defense Conference and then Stuttgart, Germany, for training and education at Africa Command. That’s all government work, international relations and studying, which I could have done at MSU, too, but the opportunities from being in the military itself and actually having the agency to do so is really cool.

What did you learn from those experiences abroad?

I learned a lot about subject material, but I think what had more value was how the United States works with other countries, not even NATO countries, but countries in Africa and countries that are on the continent, but not really part of Africa. … Everything comes from a good relationship. You don’t really learn that from college if you don’t get an opportunity like this. … I was the only Coast Guard cadet to go to Rome, so it was just me there being able to learn and bring back the knowledge and the way we put ourselves in situations with other countries back to people at the academy.

How did your father being in law enforcement influence you growing up?

He was a sergeant for the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office. Definitely growing up and seeing him, I wanted to be a sheriff, I wanted to do that. The stories of him being able to help people. He also worked on the marine patrol, so he worked with the Coast Guard station a lot. I was able to go on the motor life boats in Grand Haven, the 47s. That definitely sparked my love for the water, law enforcement and government.

My mom’s also involved in law enforcement. She’s a 911 dispatcher for Ottawa County. So I get all the sides of law enforcement.

How does it feel to be the first person in your family to join a military branch?

My dad’s very proud, my mom’s very proud. I will say, when I did say I was going to the military academy, she was like, “What are you talking about? The military?” And then, especially when I went to the Persian Gulf, she said, “You told me you were in the Coast Guard.” And I’m like, “Well, the Coast Guard does international stuff, too.” Not a lot of people really get it.

Now that you’re a Coast Guard officer, how do you want to lead others?

Perspective is my leadership philosophy, basically. We need various perspectives — we can’t all think the same or you’re never going to progress, you’re never going to have a breakthrough if you’re all thinking the same. If you have 10 different minds, it’ll be so much more efficient, it’ll be so much more progressive in the world, inclusive.

A lot of people think of the military as very exclusive — brotherhood or sisterhood. That’s true, you get each other, but I think we’re also shifting away, especially in the Coast Guard, to have more perspective and be more inclusive, which I think is very good, especially as a female. Our class was 40 percent female. It was the largest graduating class in history, which is pretty awesome considering females weren’t allowed to join the academy just about 50 years ago now.

(Courtesy photos / Anne Allman)

Where are you stationed now?

I’m stationed on the Coast Guard cutter Maple in Atlantic Beach, North Carolina. It’s on the Emerald Isle Outer Bank. It’s a 225-foot Coast Guard cutter. So, if you’re ever around here for the Coast Guard Festival, the Hollyhock will come, and that’s the same type of boat I’m on. It’s pretty big. I’ll be stationed there for two years. Obviously I love Grand Haven, so I’ll be coming back a lot to visit, probably all of my leave time.

What will you be doing on the cutter?

I’ll be a deck watch officer. I manage a group of enlisted personnel at that unit and then I will — simple terms — drive the boat and make sure it operates smoothly. We have a multi-mission platform, so we do law enforcement, we do maritime stewardship stuff and pay attention to the environment. So, if there was somebody fishing illegally, we would board their boat and check their papers, make sure everything’s good. If not, that’s the law enforcement side. We could do drug busts, migrant interdictions and fisheries. We do a lot of aids to navigation, which means buoy tending and making sure the channels and stuff are operational for the merchant marine vessels. If there’s a country that doesn’t have that capability, we go to that country and tend their buoys, too. We’re one that will go do international patrols on the East Coast, which is why it really interested me being in international relations. My boat last year went to Greenland in the Arctic area.

What are you looking forward to in North Carolina besides your work?

I love the beach and they have great beaches down there. I went down there and one thing I love about North Carolina is their sweet tea. … I also want to join outside community stuff, like a beach volleyball league or a softball team, something that’ll get me outside of the Coast Guard, too. I want to be involved in the community. I did drive by a food pantry. I used to volunteer at a food pantry in Connecticut and I loved (it).


(c)2022 the Grand Haven Tribune (Grand Haven, Mich.)

Visit the Grand Haven Tribune (Grand Haven, Mich.) at

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

If you have any problems viewing this article, please report it here.